Everyone who writes knows that it’s quite a journey from the movies you play in your mind to your memories in a completed book. A long journey. What’s important is that we have companions on the road as we write, people who understand what it’s like to painstakingly translate memory and perception to a readable story on the page. That’s your community of writers, the people who hold you up and hold you accountable. I hope you have many supporters, and draw upon them to keep you going. Here at the National Association of Memoir writers, we feel that it’s one of the most important things we do–offer support and the assurance that you are not alone.
The thing is, everything from flat tires to running out of gas can slow down your journey. I think a flat tire is the equivalent of losing our energy for the project, having the inner critic come in and puncture the excitement we had when we first started writing. Notice the clue to the problem: that pesky, and destructive, inner critic. It whispers, or shouts as the case may be, doubts about your memory, your story themes, and most of all it taunts you with photos of your family, all of whom are shaking their fingers at you and saying “Don’t you dare write that!”
If we listen to those voices, we will definitely run out of gas.
I coach some writers who struggle with keeping the energy going, and it’s not only the inner critic that’s the problem. It’s scheduling their writing, making it a priority. After all, doesn’t the rug need vacuuming, the dishes are always there, and the dog needs–well something, doesn’t it? If your life gets in the way of your writing and you can’t seem to contain all the demands made on you, go to a café, get a motel for a weekend where all you have to do is write and order food delivery! Many well- known writers have found that solution helpful. Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, talks about her escape to a motel–she had young children at home–so she could finish her memoir. You’d be in good company!
You might guess that our topic of the month is–yes–The Inner Critic! I’m pleased to be in conversation with Judy Reeves for our member teleseminar, and I hope you join us to get some tips and a pep talk on managing your inner critic!
I understand the running out of gas bit. That’s where I feel I’m at right now in my stage of writing. Sometimes I find it difficult to find a writing community to find support, too. Walking into a writing group or club that is already formed is sometimes not the easiest thing to do…especially as a first timer.
What about starting your own group? Meet-up? At a senior center?